The Balance Between Work and Life

My beautiful university

Whether you’re interning, studying, or volunteering abroad, there is a chance that you will be dedicating a lot of your time towards your required workload. This makes it difficult to find opportunities where you can go explore the exciting city around you. That’s completely understandable!

Between studying for exams, doing homework, and preparing presentations, I found myself running out of time to go out with my friends and wander around Lille. My best advice for when it comes to trying to balance your life and busy schedule is to make time to explore and relax.

The enticing view of Belgium’s streets
Me holding a bag full of Belgian chocolates!

For me, I treated my school schedule as a work one. I would study and do my homework between the breaks, trying to squeeze as much in as possible. If my to-do list was still at max, I would add two more hours after school to finish my tasks. I try not to have any distractions and focus on getting everything done. Doing this allowed me to make sure I worked efficiently which allowed for my evenings to be free of chores and for me to make plans with my friends.

People of Lille enjoying a sunny day

One important thing to note while you are scheduling your activities is to understand that you shouldn’t stress about rushing and having little time to finish your assignments. Embrace how your brain works! I can only get everything done if I have a limited big block of time, but if you work more comfortably in short periods that is more than okay. Besides scheduling my productivity period, I also make sure to set a time where work would officially stop. This allowed for me to be free from my responsibilities and not continuously add more time until I do get my work done.

Furthermore, the way I like to view it is my work and my life are in two separate locations. Once I am no longer on campus, any work-related tasks are no longer a priority and are at the forefront of my mind. Keeping them separate makes it much easier for me to balance between having time for myself and time for school. If work and life continuously mix together and can meet at any place, no one would ever be able to truly enjoy themselves!

Therefore, while you are abroad to manage your busy schedule, be mindful that this opportunity is also for you to experience the new adventure that awaits you. Don’t be hesitant to push certain tasks back to make time to take a walk around the city and wind down or have dinner with the people you meet along the way. This is the moment where you exhaust yourself from enjoying and loving the experience so much, not from the duties you take on.

View of Lille while on my way to campus

Linh Nguyen is a student at Texas A&M University – College Station and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying with ISA in Lille, France

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